(This is the third and final installment in a three-part series on the subject of worship, taken from Gerry's book, In Pursuit of His Glory: A Quest to Know the Power and Presence of God.)
Worship is birthed out of a desperate longing for God. A.W. Tozer wrote, “To have found God and still to pursue Him is the soul’s paradox of love, scorned indeed by the too-easily-satisfied religionist, but justified in happy experience by the children of the burning heart.” Worship comes out of brokenness and emptiness and the longing of our hearts for the Living God. David cried out, “My soul thirsts for You; my flesh longs for You…so I have looked for You in the sanctuary to see Your power and Your glory” (Psalm 63:1-2). There is a desperate longing to be in the presence of the Lord, to behold the splendor and majesty of the most fascinating Person in all the universe.
It is the Holy Spirit who gives us this hunger and burning desire for worship. This is why it is so important to be daily “filled with the Spirit,” to allow the Spirit to take captive our mind, will and emotions. As we ask and believe that He fills us, the result will be a burning desire to spend time with God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ. The Psalmist puts it this way: “As the deer pants (longs) for the water brooks, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God” (Psalm 42:1). It is the picture of a deer, pursued and driven to thirst, a deer that will die if it doesn’t get to water. So the Holy Spirit wants to take control of our lives and give us that desperate thirst to worship God.
As the early church gave themselves to worship, the Holy Spirit released them into greater evangelization (Acts 1:3). When Paul and Silas arrived in Philippi later, which was the first entrance of the Gospel into Europe, the enemy came against them in fury. They found themselves beaten, thrown into prison, their feet fastened in stocks. But as they continued to worship God who is faithful and true to His word, God sent an earthquake that resulted in the jailer’s conversion and a mighty revival in Philippi (Acts 16).
The enemy will do anything he can to hinder worship and divert us from adoring the Lord. Even more, our own agendas and egos can get in the way of this “sublime occupation.” Charlotte Baker spoke prophetically years ago when she said, “God has given unto His people extreme talents and much ability. But if [they] do not come through the very small gate, which is the gate of worship, and bow low and lay before Him [their] abilities, visions and power, [they] shall only be able to minister to the hearts of men. But there is a gate open in the Church in this hour which is a very small gate. Through that gate only worshippers will go. These men will lay their talents before their God. They will arise again on the other side, not to minister to men, but to minister to God.” As we choose to worship God for who He is, we will bear the Good News of God’s gracious provision and blessing to the world and minister to people with an effectiveness we’ve never had before.